THE leaders of Scotland's arts funding body, Creative Scotland, have been asked to appear before the MSPs to explain the funding crisis that recently engulfed the organisation.

Janet Archer, chief executive, and Ben Thomson, the interim chair, have been asked to give evidence at the Culture Committee of the Scottish Parliament on February 22.

Last week the funding body performed a series of U-turns on funding decisions, returning regular funding to several groups after a furore over cuts.

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Creative Scotland backtracked on cuts previously announced to Birds of Paradise, Catherine Wheels, the Dunedin Consort, Lung Ha and Visible Fictions.

These companies have now be given three-year funding deals, after initially being left off the list of art companies to receive crucial three year funding.

There was also dismay from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and other groups such as the Transmission Gallery, Fire Exit and Ayr Gaiety, that they did not win funds in the Regularly Funded Organisations list (RFO).

The incident has been viewed with "concern" by members of the committee.

The MSPs wish to probe the criteria and process for the allocation of funds on this basis.

Joan McAlpine, the convener of the committee, said: "All MSPS on the committee felt that as Creative Scotland is accountable to parliament and a major recipient of public money, recent events require to be scrutinised.

"We are interested in the process of how such decisions are made, what the strategy is and what needs to change and improve.

"MSPs previously expressed concern at the regional distribution of RFO money and I imagine that will come up again too."

The reversal of decisions was made at an emergency board meeting of Creative Scotland two week ago.

The £2.6m required for the funding reversal is to be found from ‘targeted funds’, a pot of money which Creative Scotland set aside for specific tasks.

This could mean money taken from the traditional and Gaelic arts, money for its Arts Strategy, cross-border touring or literature translation.

Targeted funds for the Youth Music Initiative, Cashback for Creativity, and for the screen industries will not be used, a spokesman said.

A proposed Touring Fund, which Creative Scotland had previously said was a crucial part of the new arrangements, is to continue but will be ‘revisited’, and it is likely to be less than the £2m it was to be given.

After the original funding decisions were announced, there was outrage that touring theatre companies, and those that work with and for the disabled, had lost out, as well as growing unease over the cuts to classical music groups.

A series of open letters, signed by hundreds in the arts world, protested against the decisions.